On Episode 108 of Inside Julia’s Kitchen, host Todd Schulkin welcomed Roland Camacho, Hearst Ranch Beef Manager, and Jensen Lorenzen, Founder of the Larder Meat Co. They work together to make grass-fed beef more accessible by shipping directly to customers. In the episode, they discuss making and selling sustainable beef and how customers can benefit from their very local collaboration.
“I think the closer you get to the source, the better it tastes.” says Lorenzen, “The closer the animal is to the way it is designed to live in nature, I think the more you taste the local terroir of that animal and what it's been eating.”
It all starts at the Hearst Ranch, where Camacho explains, “We are protecting the cowboy traditional way of life. We're still running a cattle operation and we're using these animal units as tools to maintain this resource through our grazing management efforts.”
By using cattle to graze, it guarantees that Hearst Ranch doesn’t overuse the property. “We'll reach a spot where we can have full saturation of a number of animals that we can produce,” Camacho continues, “so, we're not going to produce them and we don't produce them year round. We allow the seasons and the resource to dictate the amount of cattle that we're going to create. So at this point, we're at about 1,400 head of finished cattle over both ranches and both ranches are managed almost identically. But we're never going to push the resource. The resource is going to dictate to us how big we're going to grow this program.”
Hearst Ranch Beef is available at their retail locations San Simeon and Paso Robles, and in select Whole Foods throughout California. More recently, they teamed up with Larder Meat Co., which ships Hearst grass-fed beef to Arizona, Nevada, and California.
Lorenzen founded Larder Meat Co. after leaving his career as a chef. He found it challenging to source the same quality of meat at home, so he began looking for a way to bring restaurant-level cuts to home cooks. “To me, that meant this type of a product share program or a CSA model, which has been done with produce for a long time. I knew that I could apply the same measures to ranching, and then essentially have the exact same products that I was working with at my last restaurant in my home.”
For anyone who isn’t in the delivery range for Larder Meat Co., Camacho has advice for how to source grass-fed beef in your region. “Figure out what matters to you… and then apply those to the local options. Develop a relationship with the company. You know, if you call the Larder Meat Company, you're likely to talk to Jensen directly, like within the day. If you get a hold of the line for Hearst Ranch Beef, it's going to come to me directly, you know, and I'll get back to you within a day. And it's not a problem for me to take, you know, twenty to thirty calls a week explaining to people the difference between what we do and what other people do. So I would just say that, identify the additives and the claims that are important to you, understand what they really mean and develop a relationship with that local producer and ask them the questions.”
Learn more about the storied history, farming practices, and conservation efforts of Hearst Ranch at hearstranch.com. Go to lardermeatco.com and shop the grass-fed ground beef box to stock your freezer with Hearst Ranch beef.